Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival welcomes our Artistic Director Maestro David Stewart Wiley and members of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra for two summer concerts at Floyd EcoVillage’s Celebration Hall.

On Sunday, June 30, at 3 p.m., join us for “Stellar Strings,” presenting works by Mozart, Debussy and Handel, and featuring RSO’s internationally renowned concertmaster Akemi Takayama on violin; and harpist Rachel Lee Hall, who recently won one of the top music competitions for young artists in the country: the 44th annual Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition (named for an early 20th century Texas arts patron and philanthropist).

Then on Tuesday, July 2, at 7 p.m., we will host a concert titled “Takayama & Wiley” which will include two distinct parts: half will be works by Amy Beach and Sergei Prokofiev for violin and piano by the RSO headliners; and the other half will be chamber music performed by top musicians from Governor’s Schools throughout Virginia — a significant collaboration between VBRMF and the Radford University Summer Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts.

Each concert will conclude with a reception and an opportunity to visit with the musicians.

“Stellar Strings” begins with Mozart’s elegant “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” serenade and finishes with his virtuoso “Piano Quartet in Eb Major, K. 493.” Hall, who also serves on the faculty at Hollins University in Roanoke, will perform in both Debussy’s earthly “Sacred & Profane Dances” and Handel’s angelic “Concerto for Harp & Strings in B-flat Major.”

The June 30 concert will also feature a performance of de Falla/Kreisler’s fiery “Danse Espagnole” by extraordinary young violinist Elizabeth Shelor Matheson of Floyd. Matheson has certification with the Suzuki Association of the Americas in violin instruction and teaches for VBRMF’s Blue Ridge Strings Program held at the June Bug Center. She studies with Takayama and performs in various orchestras and groups in Virginia.

For the July 2 show, Takayama and Wiley will perform Beach’s beautiful and graceful “Romance” as well as Prokofiev’s towering masterpiece, “Sonata in F minor.”

Tickets for “Stellar Strings” are $25 for adults, $5 for students. Group rates and financial assistance are available. The “Takayama & Wiley” concert is free to the community, although donations are appreciated.

Floyd EcoVillage is located at 718 Franklin Pike in Floyd. Celebration Hall is handicapped-accessible.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival has evolved from home-based gatherings to an organization with a vision for broadening the cultural offerings in the region and supporting the education of young musicians.

For more information about the concerts and to purchase tickets, go to www.VBRMF.org. For other questions, call 745-8178.

Submitted by Cherie Shelor

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